NOx emissions from large point sources: Variability in ozone production, resulting health damages and economic costs

Denise Leonore Mauzerall, Babar Sultan, Namsoug Kim, David F. Bradford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a proof-of-concept analysis of the measurement of the health damage of ozone (O3) produced from nitrogen oxides (NO x=NO+NO2) emitted by individual large point sources in the eastern United States. We use a regional atmospheric model of the eastern United States, the Comprehensive Air quality Model with Extensions (CAMx), to quantify the variable impact that a fixed quantity of NOx emitted from individual sources can have on the downwind concentration of surface O 3, depending on temperature and local biogenic hydrocarbon emissions. We also examine the dependence of resulting O3-related health damages on the size of the exposed population. The investigation is relevant to the increasingly widely used "cap and trade" approach to NO x regulation, which presumes that shifts of emissions over time and space, holding the total fixed over the course of the summer O3 season, will have minimal effect on the environmental outcome. By contrast, we show that a shift of a unit of NOx emissions from one place or time to another could result in large changes in resulting health effects due to O3 formation and exposure. We indicate how the type of modeling carried out here might be used to attach externality-correcting prices to emissions. Charging emitters fees that are commensurate with the damage caused by their NOx emissions would create an incentive for emitters to reduce emissions at times and in locations where they cause the largest damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2851-2866
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume39
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

Keywords

  • Cap-and-trade
  • Health impacts
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • NO emissions
  • Point sources
  • Surface ozone

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